Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Odds & ends...

  • Pregnancy loss support group meeting last week: two bereaved moms in their late 20s/early 30s talking to each other about trying again. "It's been THREE MONTHS & I'm NOT pregnant and it's driving me nuts!! With all my other kids, I got pregnant the first time we tried! It's SO depressing!!" Bit my tongue VERY hard & tried to remember I am there to support them, not strangle them. ; ) I understand the driving desire many babyloss moms have to get pregnant again (because I had it myself)... but it's just not that easy for some of us -- & they have heard my story & those of others who have attended the group...
  • Train ride home last night: guy standing in the aisle next to my seat (the train was very crowded) getting quizzed/lectured about his wife's pregnancy by perky young know-it-all mom for the entire 25-minute ride (plus time in the station before departure). My teeth grinding at being subjected to this (loud conversations of any kind on the train are annoying, but pregnancy & baby-related ones doubly so) actually turned to feeling sorry for the guy as the woman regaled him with horror stories about drs, general pregnancy aches & pains, Group B strep tests, birth plans ("is she going to have an epidural? If not, you're in for some blood-curdling screams...").
  • Farewell party for (divorced, childless, 30-something) office colleague this afternoon: adores her niece but is adamant that she doesn't want any of her own. Was told by the party organizer in front of the entire department that they were boing to put a picture of a baby on the card envelope & pretend it was a baby shower. Which degenerated into a conversation about how wonderful babies are. At which point (having already eaten my cake) I quietly stood up & went back to my cubicle.
  • In the mail this week: donation appeal from the hospital where Katie was delivered & where I still visit Dr. Ob-gyn for annual checksups -- but addressed to dh, who recently had some tests run there. "Dear Mr. Road Less Travelled," it begins. "It's a sad truth that women in countries all over the world, including Canada, face complications during pregnancy that can affect their health and the survival of their baby. We're experiencing rising rates for stillbirth, dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy (called pre-eclampsia) and the birth of smaller, very vulnerable babies."

Really?? Pray, tell me all about it...!!

The letter is from a dr in the high-risk unit -- the same dr who was making the rounds the morning after Katie's stillbirth, who expressed his condolences -- and his interest in my placenta (let's call him "Dr. Placenta."). It goes on to describe one patient who came to him in 2004, 24 weeks into her pregnancy with a very small baby who did not survive. But thanks to placental function testing early in her next pregnancy at the hospital's Placenta Clinic -- the only one of its kind in Canada, which is approaching its 10th anniversary (!!) -- she has had not just one but two healthy babies.

"Our research, which recently revealed that a simple blood test combined with a non-invasive ultrasound can identify a woman's risk of pregnancy-threatening placental problems, is making a difference to families across Canada," it says. "There is so much more we could do, but we need your help."

Well. You can imagine my feelings upon reading this letter. Including:

  • Amazement -- that a letter addressed to dh would hit so very, very close to home for our family. If it hadn't been addressed to him, & him alone, I would swear that we were being targeted. What are the odds? (Of course, what were the odds that I would have a stillborn baby??)
  • Anger & regret -- that this clinic wasn't around 10 years ago when I really could have used it. And that I wasn't referred to Dr. Placenta during my pregnancy, even though they could tell from my ultrasound that there was something on my placenta, & that my baby had IUGR.
  • Relief -- even though it's too late for me, I am glad that other mothers are being spared the agony that I went through.
  • "It's about time" -- that some real research is being done on this issue. I am very grateful for the programs & protocols in place at the hospital that provided such good care & beautiful keepsakes for us after our daughter was stillborn... there is a real need for more funding for programs that support bereaved parents after their losses. But there is also a very real need for more funding to find out WHY pregnancy loss happens, & hopefully prevent it, so that fewer parents have to go through this special brand of hell.

I think that I am going to make a donation. And if & when I do, I think I am going to write a letter to go along with it, saying some of the same things I've said here.


  1. I encourage you to be honest and let them know that randomly generated letters go to real people with real experiences.

    Sorry you had to bite your tongue and gnash your teeth this week -- sounds like a doozie of weird's a good thing you're such a strong woman.

  2. It's the small things that bring the roller coaster up & down sometimes ... and then the big things too. I think that letter would have had me in tears.

    I hope you get a chance to escape into some book store wandering soon.

  3. Does seem like you're being targeted, doesn't it? My husband's 94 year old grandfather would argue that it's predestination. He's not even necessarily a believer of it, yet would argue it anyway. He's funny that way. Or not. (He just spent the past five days at our home, arguing his point with me. I had to share it with someone :o)

    As for the donation and the letter: I think that's a wonderful idea, Loribeth.

  4. "I am there to support them, not strangle them." you just made me laugh. But behind their 'fake' annoyance is probably also fear, fear of not being successful again (at whatever step that happens)

    I think it is a great idea to write a letter to Dr. P with your story, ideas, thoughts.

  5. Oh, the holidays are so full of baby talk -- everywhere, all the time, no place is safe. It is so annoying, isn't it?!

    Please do write that letter -- be sure to tell them how it made you feel, too.

  6. It is a relief to hear that research is being done, and that another mother is spared. I am sorry they weren't around 10 years ago for you though.

  7. I'm with Pamela - it's good they're doing this now but couldn't they have done a filter in their mailout?

  8. oh, I don't know how I'd feel if I was targeted for a letter by my doctor about the same issue... on one hand, who better to appeal to, but on the other, PJ is right, this is not an abstraction but very real.

  9. Hi Loribeth
    I get some of those same conflicting feelings of joy for others tinged with envy that it was not here for me.
    I think we've got the same Dr Placenta . Send me an email if you are interested in chatting.